On Monday afternoon, I had a choice to make. I could either rush finishing the bag and not include all the information I wanted to in the video... OR ... I could decide that the bag would not be finished in time and slow the pace down. I chose to slow down.
When I started the bag, I was really excited, especially to be painting fabric again after a long break, and then it turned into the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. It looked bland and boring and reminded me of a hotel bedspread. What I had in my head and what I had on the fabric were completely different things and that's the nature of new learning. My surface design skills are minimal at best.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you." - Ira Glass
I'm breaking this quote from Ira Glass into parts. I remember how reassuring it was the first time I read it... that yes, this was true...my work disappointed me. It was nowhere near the vision I had in my head and that needed to be okay. Reality is that if I'd already known how to do what I was trying to learn how to do, then I wouldn't have been learning anything new! New starts at the beginning, with disappointment just past excitement.
"A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this." - Ira Glass Surface design has been calling me for YEARS. I pick it up and then I put it down. I buy supplies, try, am frustrated and disappointed, quit, give the supplies away, determine this is not for me and I'm never doing it again, and repeat. This time, I'm not quitting. I'm going to make it past ugly somehow, someway.
" And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
A once a week "story" isn't possible for many of us depending on what we're trying to learn and the rest of our life. Right now, I'm busier than I've been in years and I absolutely love the work and the direction I'm moving in and all the new learning. And, at the same time, I'm frustrated by the things I want to do that aren't next in line, that are in fact way down the line. A forward pace of some sort may be the best we can hope for and that is good and enough. For me, that looks like the odd painted piece and perhaps some instances of added details. Eventually, I will move from here to there, from ugly beginnings to good stuff.
I am really proud of how this bag turned out. It's The Dome Bag made from quilting cotton that I channel stitched and an absolutely gorgeous lining. I designed the bag, wrote the pattern, stitched the fabric, inserted the lining, attached the hardware, and, and, and... And yet, at one time, I wouldn't have had a clue. Building a bag would have looked like an unscalable mountain and yet the subject of today's video - Save Your Ugly Bag - illustrates how much I've grown over the past two decades in the area of organic creativity - of creating the piece step by step responding to what's happening in front of me. Organic creativity is a tool I didn't have before and now use all the time. Surface design is another tool I want for my toolbox. Using it with an increasing level of competence will take practice. Talk soon - Myrna Grateful - learned skills
PS: I like a lot of things about the Wix blogging format but NOT the comments section. Blogger definitely did that better. If you want to comment on today's post, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form linked above. You'll find it's WAY easier. THANKS.